Salters

(Gressak) #1

So, I had a surfcasting event I went to here in New England. I decided to hit two birds with one stone and try for catching my first salter. Did a bit of research and found a some target water…

Fort those who are not familiar…

In much of the literature they’re known as “anadromous brook trout,” but that’s a misnomer. Better to call them “salters.” They spawn in fresh water but don’t spend years at sea or undertake long migrations. Rarely do they venture far from the mouths of their natal streams, and they frequently trade between salt, brackish and fresh water, sometimes in the span of 24 hours. In winter, when most landlocked brook trout put their metabolisms on hold, salters fatten on such marine and estuarine bounty as smelt, sand lances, mummichogs, spearing and grass shrimp.

It has been raining a lot. This brook was beautiful.
Not a mountain headwater but a tidal creek. Its origins wetlands and swamps draining into the Atlantic

Mosses covered everything…I felt like an intruder for sure…no signs of anglers or man, yet a perfectly composed setting. Kudos to nature and her landscaping.

Mr. Magooed my way into catching two specimens within an hour. For some, I have read, this is a challenge. I suspect the cover of rain and the advantages of tenkara gave me an edge…and I did a lot of crawling around.

When I hooked these fish…they did not read as Trout in profile. I guess as noted above…their seafood diet accelerates their growth. Evidently they also take flies.

.

Just a beautiful morning…no one around. I am not sure how I feel about this outing. Nice to have the experience but a lot of what I read notes that salters are in trouble…most of these estuaries are not protected. One of the studies I read noted that they seem to have found different strains of salters in adjacent creeks. Like the salters in those specific creeks had very specific attributes local to the creek but not between other creeks. Even more reason to let them be…beautiful wild identities out there just doing their thing.

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(Peder) #2

Beautiful, thanks for sharing. From what I understand from previous reading, it’s not too dissimilar to cutthroat trout, just in a much more concentrated geographical area. Obviously, the salters are under a different type of pressure than the cutthroat is, but it’s pressure and threatening nonetheless.

(Evan R.) #3

Great story and great pics — thanks for sharing.

How far from saltwater were you when you landed these?

(Tyson Sparrow) #4

What amazing pictures, thank you for sharing!

(Ulysses Jones) #5

Is this in Connecticut? As if I didn’t have enough streams in the immediate vicinity of my house now I guess I will need to take a drive to the shore. If this is in fact in CT, do you need a marine licence since it is salt/brackish water?

(Chris Lynch) #6

looks like a really amazing place! How is the fight on those guys, I’m sure they are more lively than a land-locked brookie…

In the smokies, there are physical differences in different streams, mostly based on elevation and which side of the slopes you’re looking at.

(Mike Kotowski) #7

Very cool. I think if nobody ever fished for salters, it would be hard to generate much interest in preserving their habitats.

(Gressak) #8

To saltwater around a mile. To open ocean…4 miles.

No. You are safe. As far as I know there are a lot of places to target sea run trout in CT. Most that are heavily noted hold large searun browns and are very wide rivers. Could one fish them with fixed line? Yes…but most folk target them with spinning gear and larger offerings. You would need to check the regs but most delineation marine/fresh is the first bridge up a river. The marine license is nothing…perhaps $5. Worth picking up. I fish fixed line carp rods for striped bass, fluke, scup, searobin, and whatever else will take my presentation. It is fun.

Ounce for ounce, no different than any other cold water wild trout. These guys went airborne a few times…their fat bellies hyper extended to belly flop each majestic leap…hahahhaaha. Now we know how they get their bellies deep orange in the fall. Belly floppin…

True, but at the same time, like any of these wilds…they have it hard enough as it is. I only landed two fish in two separate significant pools. There either were very few fish in this water or catching the first spooked the rest. Compare it to a recent outing in another wild brookie stream. My buddy landed 12 in a pool…granted that water was a much more stable environment, where this water probably converts from brook to puddles as it dries up into separate bodies.

It is a good point though. I should donate to some organizations to protect these environments. Not just be an end user but a steward.

(Gressak) #9

Some additional thoughts. Its pretty amazing to think about both native and wild fish. For me these brooktrout always get me jazzed. These specifically have me thinking about nature and Man’s affect on it.

To think the whole northeast was loaded with these beautiful fish. They are mostly snuffed out and rivers destroyed, rebuilt, and repopulated with trout that are made for trophy fishing or meat fishing. Non native species and strains.

My first trout experience was with my older cousin. He had returned from service and was about 15 years older than I. He took me to his great grandfathers farm. We marched out into the deep woods…no trail…just bushwacking. We came upon a brook and located some of the biggest pools in the brook. We must have caught a dozen brook trout of various sizes. I distinctly remember the clouds and clouds of misquitos. I remember making an effort of not complaining or getting aggravated by them.

We took the trout all back to the farm. My cousin culled the smallest ones out of the group and tossed them to the farm cats. They all looked like they were living on the fringe of existence and all raced up and grabbed a fish to drag off as their prize.

I have read recently that brooktrout reproduce quickly but they really need good clean habitat to survive. I really wish the Department of Environmental managements would put effort into stocking natives only and clean up the rivers. I suppose its not that simple and politics gets in the way.

A year ago, I asked my cousin if there were still trout in that brook. Sadly he noted how that brook was long gone and the trout with it. All traded for residential development.

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